North Melbourne coach David Noble has “no interest” in discussing the club’s first wooden spoon in 49-years and said the 14-point loss to Sydney was not acceptable for its supporters.
The loss denied the Kangaroos a potential wooden-spoon showdown against 17th placed-Adelaide in Round 23, with Noble’s side now six points behind the Crows, who are still to face Melbourne on Sunday afternoon.
At this stage, the Kangaroos hold the number one selection in the National Draft.
Jason Horne-Francis, the standout prospect in the open draft pool, set tongues wagging with a stellar three-goal haul in the SANFL last week for South Adelaide, tallying 22 disposals and 150 ranking points, but had a quieter 12 possession game on Saturday.
North Melbourne trailed by more than six goals in the late stages of the first half, with Noble revealing vision of unsatisfactory efforts were shown to the playing group during the break to inspire them to lift.
The tactic worked a charm as the Roos rallied to within four-points at the 10-minute mark of the final term.
“I’ve got no interest in talking about the wooden spoon, it’s what it is,” Noble said post-match.
“That’s where we sit, which is not ideal when we’ve been chasing really hard to improve and get up the ladder.”
“We’ll just continue to move on.”
Noble was disappointed by the last-quarter fade-out and maintained that losses of that nature were not acceptable despite being in their regenerating phase.
“I’ve been clear since Round 1, I’m not coaching to lose,” he said.
“It’s disappointing to get that close and then not be able to maintain the pressure and level of intensity that we need to but there’s some understandings why that occurs.
“We do not consider that an honourable loss, we are not in the business of doing that, and I hope our fans clearly understand that (those losses) are not acceptable.
The first-year coach lauded the Roos’ crop of youngsters, with all but one of their goals kicked by players aged 22 or younger.
Noble took over as the Kangaroos’ coach at the beginning of this season. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
North Melbourne star Ben Cunnington is set to return at full capacity for the beginning of pre-season following surgery to remove a testicular tumour.
Coach David Noble expressed the club’s relief by his positive update and said while the two-time Syd Barker medallist may be eased into things, the outlook is bright for him rejoining the playing group when training resumes after the off-season break.
Noble said the 30-year-old is in a “terrific headspace” after the procedure, heading down to the club for training and mentoring assistance during main sessions.
“We were greatly relieved for Ben and Belinda and the kids and extended family that they got some really good news.”
“We might need to go a bit slower when he returns but I think all things are pointing towards him starting pre-season in full capacity.
“He will still need to be vigilant going forward, no doubt.
“He should be in a position that when we get back to pre-season – we think he’ll be in a position that he has recovered from the surgery.
“Our thoughts are with Sam Docherty as well.”
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